Saturday, August 8, 2009

In the so-called Cemetery because I thought last year that we had encountered grave shafts...we opened seven excavation units during the May 2009 Archeological Society of Maryland Field Session, expanding on the three units from the previous year. Here is an example of the kind of archaeological feature that we found. It is a classic structural post hole and mold. The trowel lies within the hole.

This one was uncovered in Unit 29 at the base of the plowzone. Note the dark, oval discoloration near the right end--the post mold, where the wooden post had been set before the colonists backfilled the hole.

Traces of historic artifacts in the top of the hole indicate that colonists had been living at this location before they dug the hole and planted the post.

Six structural post holes in perfect alignment were uncovered during the field session. They are all large (about 3 ft to 3.5 ft long, 3 ft wide). The molds range between 0.6 ft and 0.9 ft along their longest axes indicating wooden posts of like diameter. Clearly we have exposed only one part of one wall, but a wall of what? What kind of structure does this line of posts represent?

While such features typically occur on Colonial period sites...indeed, we count on their presence and our ability to find them...the close spacing is unusual, at least on excavated Maryland sites. Note the distances between post molds, center to center. Typically archaeologists in Maryland will find posts that are spaced around 10 ft apart, perhaps 6 ft apart for the last pair at the end of the building supporting the chimney. But 4 ft apart up and down the line?

We noted a bit of fire-reddened earth between two of the post holes and some evidence of post replacement in the form of intrusive holes.

What kind of building was this? Obviously we need to excavate a larger area and expose this structure in its entirety to determine its function. Once we've cleaned, catalogued, and analyzed the recovered artifacts we might have an additional clue as to what it was used for and when. Updates anon!


1 comment:

pquantock said...

It's amazing how much clearer it looks on a digital drawing than on the ground!